The last weekend in September means it's time once again for The Deerfield Fair, now in its 141st year. Last year I wrote about the fun we had entering our produce and canned goods in the exhibitions, and this year I wanted even more! I entered six vegetables this time, while The Kitchen Goddess kept it to a demure three of her canning products.
The stuff got dropped off last Tuesday, and on Saturday we went to the fair to see how we did. It was a cold, drizzly, blustery day, but the crowds were still huge.
The anticipation mounted as we approached the exhibit hall:
Turn to the right, and right off we found TKG got side-by-side blue ribbons for her pickled hot yellow pepper rings and her Peri-Peri sauce!
A little further down the line, and a blue ribbon for her pasta sauce. She went three for three!
Across the aisle to the vegetables. My shishito peppers got a red ribbon.
Same for Thai Hot peppers. Hmm, I thought those might get a blue just for cuteness.
There's a red ribbon for my "Bride" eggplant:
Wow, the judging is tough this year. Who are the judges? They are experts in horticulture and home industries from the University of New Hampshire's Cooperative Extension Service. I guess they don't mess around! In my mind I was picturing adorable little grannies in flower-print dresses judging the canned and baked goods at least, but no. By the way, each entry is judged on its own merits, not relative to others of the same type.
Ah, finally a blue, for my Nadia eggplant:
Okay, where is my garlic? It's not in with the others. Oh look, there's the "People's Choice" table, where the viewers can vote for one of five entries chosen by the staff (not the judges).
And there's my Vietnamese Purple Striped garlic, again a red ribbon from the judges (and the others are all blues). Already at a disadvantage!
Did I vote for myself? You decide. But the People's Choice finally went for these attractive black-hulled popcorn ears. Congratulations, whoever you are, but dang, I really had my eye on that ceramic trophy crock.
One entry left, my black beans. Again, not in with the other dried beans. But what's this on the end cap?
There they are!
I didn't win absolute Best In Show. That went to an entry of cranberries. Again, congratulations to that person. I didn't even know anyone grew cranberries in New Hampshire. But I was thrilled to place in the top ten, and get that fancy ribbon.
So let's tally up our prize money! A little math, and it comes to $34. Not bad! But what about expenses? Let's see...admission and lunch at the fair comes to $38. Uh oh. And that's not including the costs of 3 trips to the fair, once to drop off entries, once to attend, and once to pick them back up again. Only one thing to do...enter more next year!
Of course we do it for the sheer fun, which knew no bounds. Once again I encourage you to enter your products in any local fair you have. You will really enjoy it, I promise.
Thanks for reading, and sorry for the boasting. I know it's kind of a stretch for the "how you use your harvest" mission of the weekly Harvest Monday at Our Happy Acres. I'll be back next week with a more conventional post.